Are Online Casinos Honest

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In addition to the posts above, what keeps a casino honest is the intense competition in that space. There are numerous forums dedicated to online gambling, just a whisper of inappropriate behaviour is enough to kill the business. Yup, it’s the fear of exposure, even a.

by Steve Bourie Learn more about the author read more »

All of the stories in this book relating to slot machines and video poker are based on the assumption thatthose machines act in a random manner. This means we’re assuming that those games aren’t programmed to avoid giving a player a winning slot combination or poker hand and the opportunity existson each pull of the handle, or push of a button, for any possible winning combination to occur.

We know that there are gaming regulatory agencies that are supposed to provide the public with protection from playing on a rigged machine but how is it done? and how effective is it?

Being the nosy guy that I am, these were a couple of questions I was curious to get answered and it ended up taking me on a little bit of an adventure. Not only did it result in this storyabout the regulatory process for electronic gaming machines but it also led me to question the motives of a national news organization.

Electronic Gaming Machines

In the United States, there are only four states that have their own facilities for testing electronic gaming machines.

  • Montana
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • Nevada

For the other states that offer legalized casino gambling but don’t have their own labs almost all rely on the services of Gaming Labs International - an independent testing firm based in TomsRiver, New Jersey.

It only made sense to start with the biggest state first, so in February 1997. I called the Nevada Gaming Control Board to ask for permission to visit their testing lab in Las Vegas. They toldme I needed to get permission for that from Bill Bible, the Control Board’s chairman, so I wrote him a brief letter explaining that I wanted to write a story about the lab for my book. Twelvedays later I received a reply from him stating that I was welcome to visit the lab but that some parts of it were confidential and would not be accessible to me. He only requested that I callthat department in advance to make an appointment. A few days later I called and made arrangements for a visit on March 18 at 3:00 p.m.

Against All Odds - Slot Machines

Not being a computer expert - just a curious casino gambler - I wasn’t exactly sure what I should ask and about 10 days before my trip I started to ponder questions I thought might beappropriate. Then, on March 12, just six days before the scheduled visit, I was watching television when I switched channels and caught a story on the ABC News show PrimeTime Live about slotmachines. The segment was titled 'Against All Odds' and featured their chief investigative reporter Brian Ross.

The story focused on the computer chips in slot machines and began with parts of an interview with Frank Romano who, Ross said, was banned from the industry because a company he owned with twopartners was charged with rigging its video poker machines to avoid giving out royal flush jackpots.

Ross went on to say that the public knows little about the inner workings of machines and that PrimeTime conducted a four-month investigation into the industry that included numerous interviewswith industry officials, the reading of confidential documents and the viewing of secret videotapes of an interview with a former state gaming official who was involved in a slot cheatingscandal.

Ross said that Romano claimed he didn’t know anything about the cheating at his company and that he had persuaded a federal judge of that fact. Also, Romano had no qualms with talking about the'secrets' of the gambling industry even though Larry Volk the person at his company who programmed the chips to avoid giving the winning hands had been murdered: Volk was shot to death at hishouse in Las Vegas shortly before he was scheduled to begin giving a testimony about how he programmed the chips to cheat.

Ross said Romano claimed the computer chips made cheating possible and that the true 'secret' of the industry was that the chips of many machines were programmed with a 'near-miss' featurewhich didn’t directly affect the odds of the game but did lure players into playing longer.

Romano then gave an example where a slot machine would line up two 7s on the pay line and have the third 7 settle below the pay line making people think they were close to winning. He saidthose kinds of results were programmed into the machines on purpose.

Ross said the casinos pay out up to 98% on these machines and that Romano claimed the industry came up with this idea as a way to get the dollar volume up by keeping the players at the machinesfor a longer period. Romano claimed it was 'cheating' and that the industry was 'teasing' the player by making them think they were close to winning.

The next scene shifted to an interview with gambling addiction authority Valerie Lorenz who, Ross said, wasn’t surprised that the industry would do such a thing.

Are Online Casinos Honest Games

Meeting the Nevada Gaming Control Board

Next was an interview with Bill Bible, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Control Board who said that cheaters would be caught and prosecuted. Ross commented that most of the Board’s cases involvedplayers cheating casinos and asked Bible if it also applied to casinos that cheat customers. Bible replied that it did and that his department inspects computer chips both before they’re put inthe machines and also after they’re out in actual play.

Ross then questioned how good a job the state did in examining the chips because of allegations raised in a six-hour series of supposedly 'secret' videotapes with Ronald Harris, a former GamingControl Board employee who was involved in a slot cheating scandal. Harris was a computer expert in the gaming lab where the machines were tested and the videos were made by the attorneygeneral’s office while questioning him about his cheating activities. Harris was eventually convicted of felony cheating charges.

Parts of the 'secret' tape are then shown with Harris claiming that the state’s gaming regulations weren’t being enforced and that the machines were 'deceptive.'

Harris: I remember reviewing one, and it was a thousand times more likely that the three 7s would line up directly above the payline than on the payline. I mean, doesn’t thatseem deceptive to anyone here?

Questioner: To make the customer feel as though they came very close to getting a jackpot and that perhaps the next one or the next one, to paraphrase the ad, the baby would beready to deliver?

Harris: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah, it’s out there. It’s being done. It’s condoned by the board..

Ross commented that the attorney general’s office told PrimeTime it couldn’t prove any criminal wrongdoing based on Harris’ allegations and that they never looked at all into the alleged'deceptive' features on slots.

The interview with Bible then continued with him confirming that Harris was a former employee who had a great deal of knowledge about the industry and that his allegations were still underreview. Bible denied that any cheating was allowed by him or the board and he pointed out that Harris just didn’t have much credibility.

In the next scene Ross said that two other former employees of the lab, without any criminal backgrounds, also believed that the machines were 'deceptive.' He interviewed Gordon Hickman aretired employee who said that the machines were very prevalent. Ross said that in a confidential memo to the attorney general’s office Hickman claimed that he was ordered to okay machines that'display near-misses in 7s a third of the time just above the payout line.' Ross said Hickman thought the machines were 'deceptive' but he was ordered to approve them anyway. The machines inquestion were manufactured by International Game Technology (IGT), the world’s largest manufacturer of electronic gaming machines and a company which controls about 75% of the market.

Next was an interview with Tom Baker, president of IGT, in which he’s shown a copy of the Harris video. Baker denied that his company’s machines were 'deceptive' in the way Harris describedthem on the tape. Ross challenged Baker by asking if his machines were 'deceptive' and again questioned whether or not IGT was teasing customers into thinking they were close to winning whenthey played those machines. Baker replied that Harris said a lot of things, however, Harris was a convicted felon but Baker and his company were not. Ross responded by showing Baker a copy ofGordon Hickman’s confidential memo to the attorney general’s office about the same subject. Baker then denied there was any favoritism given to his company that he knew about.

At that point Ross pointedly asked if IGT programs its machines with a “near-miss' feature. Baker answered by saying his company’s machines were programmed in accordance with the law. Ross thenasked if the law allowed the “near-miss' feature. Baker said he personally didn’t know, but if his company was doing it then the law allowed it.

A voice-over from Ross then commented that gambling industry critics have concerns about the regulations that are in place and the scene shifted back to gambling addiction expert Valerie Lorenzwho said the casino industry makes the laws in Nevada and she questioned if any other business would be allowed to get away with deceiving the public in such a manner.

The next scene shifted back to Bill Bible with Ross questioning him as to whether or not he thought the public was treated fairly when playing gaming machines in Las Vegas. Bible replied thathe had no doubt the public was indeed treated fairly.

The final scene went back to Romano who said that the machines were designed to entertain the public as well as to take their money. Ross then asked if a casino customer is better off going tothe machines or to one of the table games. Romano replied that they’d be better off going home and that ended the report.

It didn’t take long for the effects of PrimeTime Live’s broadcast to be felt. The very next day U.S. Representative Frank Wolf (R-Va.), a longtime opponent of legalized gambling, requested animmediate investigation by two federal agencies. 'I have asked the FBI to investigate claims of illegality and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate illegal trade practices,' Wolf said.

The segment also became a subject of discussion that same day in the Manitoba Parliament when Gary Doer, an opposition party leader, called for a government investigation into the matterbecause a Winnipeg casino used slot machines manufactured by IGT. 'If the computer machines are programmed in the United States to have this kind of near-miss operation to entice people,particularly addicted people, to keep going, I want that stopped here in Manitoba,' said Doer.

The show also sparked a call in the Nevada legislature for its own investigation, but with a slightly different twist: they wanted to know who leaked the attorney general’s confidential RonaldHarris videotapes to ABC News. 'That entire piece is hinging on the unsubstantiated allegations of a convicted felon, “said Nevada Assembly Minority Leader Peter Ernaut. 'What is said on thosetapes is secondary to how they got public.'

The Nevada legislature didn’t seem too concerned about the allegations raised in the broadcast because they believed they weren’t valid. “Our programs do not create a near-miss scenario andevery symbol is randomly selected,' said Brian McKay, general counsel for IGT. 'We don’t make deceptive machines. We never have,' he added.

Well, this certainly was an interesting can of worms that had been opened. It surely gave me some additional direction for the questions I wanted to ask but, actually, I was already familiarwith the subjects raised in this report.

I knew that American Coin was the company that Frank Romano had been associated with and that it was involved in the biggest cheating scandal in Nevada gaming history. In July 1989 the NevadaGaming Control Board seized about 1,000 of the company’s gaming machines in 93 southern Nevada locations (mostly bars and taverns)after it discovered that they contained unapproved computerchips. The company’s video poker machines had been altered to avoid giving a royal flush and their keno machines had also been programmed to avoid giving out the top jackpots.

Eventually, the company surrendered its license and paid $1 million in fines. Authorities also pursued a criminal case against the company but were later forced to drop those proceedings whentheir star witness Larry Volk, the American Coin programmer who said he had been ordered to program the rigged chips, was shot in the back of the head and killed outside his Las Vegas mobilehome in October 1990. A suspect was later arrested and tried in the case but a jury didn’t convict him.

Romano, who was a one-third partner in the company along with his brother-in-law and father-in-law, claimed he never knew of the cheating scheme. In a later bankruptcy proceeding against hispartners a federal judge agreed with Romano’s claim of innocence and ruled in his favor.

As for the 'near-miss' scenario I knew that this issue had been raised before with Universal Distributing, a Japanese slot manufacturer, that had specifically developed a 'near-miss' programfor its slot machines. When showing a non-winning combination on their slot machines Universal’s program would put two symbols on the payline and then place the third symbol just above or belowthe payline to make players think they were close to winning. When the Universal machines were originally approved for use in Nevada the state’s regulators weren’t aware of the problem. In1988, however, the Nevada Gaming Control Board discovered the 'near-miss “scenario and filed a complaint against Universal. The Board then held a series of hearings to discuss the 'near-miss'issue and officially ruled it illegal. This resulted in Universal having to reprogram about 15,000 of its machines throughout the state.

Well, if the 'near-miss' had been ruled illegal in 1988 then why would PrimeTime Live broadcast a report that would purposely lead its viewers to believe that it was in use today? Maybe what Ihad heard about the illegality of the” near-miss' was wrong? I knew this was an issue that I had to bring up during my visit to the testing lab.

The five-story State of Nevada office building at 555 East Washington Avenue is about 10 blocks north of the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas’ downtown casino district. I went to the second floorto meet Greg Gale, Chief of the Audit Division for the Gaming Control Board, who brought me to meet Mark Robinson, the Lab Manager for the board’s Electronic Services division. They explainedthat Gale was temporarily supervising Robinson’s area because the department’s chief recently retired and that Electronic Services would be on its own again once a new chief was in place. Allof my questioning was directed to Robinson, but occasionally Gale would supply an answer to help clarify an issue.

Slot Machines Interview

What are your department’s duties?

We test machines before they’re approved for use in Nevada and then we also have a field inspection group that goes out every day and checks the chips that are in the machines to be sure thatwhat’s out there is actually what we’ve approved.

How did your department come about?

Back in the early ’80s the Board had the lab and it was under the enforcement division. We also had a group of computer programmers, who did in-house computer programming, and that was in theadministration division. The Board decided to form a separate division that had all the technical resources in one division and that became Electronic Services.

So you had a lab back in the early ’80s. Do you know when it first started?

I don’t know the exact date. Somewhere in the late ’70s, like about ’75 or ’78. They started looking at the mechanical machines and developed sort of expertise in the enforcement divisionfirst. Then, as the electronics grew in the machines, they realized they needed an electronics group to handle it.

How many people are in the department?

There are a total of 18 in electronics and computer services. We’ve got 10 in the lab part.

What is the background of all the people that check the machines?

Primarily electrical engineers.

How long have you been here?

I’ve been with the Board 12-and-a-half years and I’ve been in the lab about a year-and-a-half now.

And you’re in charge of the whole lab?

The lab inspectors, the whole thing.

And the lab part tests the machines?

Yes, out in the field and prior to approval. We have a group that does both. We have six people that go out and do it in the field and we’ve got three herein the office.

This is for the entire state?

Yes. For the entire state.

So, some of you would go to Reno?

Right. We do have agents who are permanently stationed in the Carson City office: four of them. Three of them go out and one is their supervisor who also does some in-house work with theelectronic equipment.

What’s the normal procedure when a manufacturer comes in with a new slot machine?

We have about a six-month process to get it approved. We start by testing the machine to make sure it’s random. We look at the source code. We look at the principles behind how the randomgeneration occurs and we look through the source code for any possible problems.

What is the source code?

The source code is the programming that makes the machine run. All of the slot machines we’re approving today are computer-based machines; there are no mechanicals anymore.

Do you get a written printout of the programming?

Generally, we get it on a floppy disk so that we can use our computer tools to review it faster. Reading it page after page isn’t practical anymore.

What do you look for?

Most of it’s written in a way that’s fairly understandable. There are some modules that make up each of the functions that go on in the machinelike maybe handling the hopper or handling thecoin acceptor so you need to look at those specific functions in greater depth and read through them to see how they work.

The main thing that we’re looking at though is its random generation. How does it pick the stops that it’s going to show you? Or, how does it pick the cards it’s going to show you? And we’vedeveloped over the years a pretty good understanding of the various ways you can generate numbers randomly using a computer.

When you approve a particular model of machine. Do you just approve the initial program or every program the machine can use?

We do approve each program. The first program that is approved is the first model of that machine. It goes through the entire process and it gets presented to the Board and the Commissionfor their approval or denial. If the machine is approved then the manufacturer may modify it under the regulations and they can make all kinds of variations to that machine.

They primarily get a platform approved, like a spinning-reel slot machine or a video poker machine. Then all of the minor variations, like changes in paytables, or in the case of poker you gofrom regular poker to deuces wild, to jokers wild, to any possible combinations you can think of..

Gale: We should probably say that before you can actually submit a device to the lab for its inspection approval you need to have a license in the state of Nevada. That’sreally the initial step. You have to apply to us and you have to submit to a background and financial investigation. Once you have that license in hand you can then submit your device forapproval.

Robinson: Once we’ve reviewed it and we find that it meets all of the regulations and technical standards then we recommend it for field trial and the chairman administrativelyapproves a field trial at a location that the manufacturer has selected. They go out and install one or more machines at that location and we administer a field trial where we observe themachine for problems on the floor. We also have the location to tell us about any problems they may have with it.

What can happen in the field test to disrupt the approval process?

The primary thing is meter problems where the machine doesn’t have a good accounting of everything that is going on. A lot of times in the field you’ll have people playing them and they’rehitting buttons all over the place and doing all kinds of crazy things to them that you might not do in a lab environment.

Gale: Like pouring a soft drink down the coin acceptor to see if it will trip the coin hopper!

Just having the machine on for hours and hours and hours - you know -days continuously sometimes generates different problems than you’ll see in a lab environment. Some of the mechanicalproblems will also show up a lot more in the field than they will in the lab.

Because they’re taxed, I guess you need to have an accounting of each machine’s revenue?

That’s correct. Every machine has to have the capability to count the coin in and the coin out. That’s what our audit division is looking at when they’re out doing their audits.

Once you’ve approved a particular machine is that manufacturer then free to re-set the machinepaybacksto whatever they want within the 75% minimum payback limits of Nevada law?

Correct. They can make all the variations to that machine that they want to within the technical standards.

How do you know that the chips in the machines are within the limits of the law? Is every machine tested?

Every machine is tested to a degree, yes. When a manufacturer submits changes he gives a summary list of his changes in the chips. We review those and we also, on a sample basis, review themodules themselves in a greater depth to make sure that what they’re telling us on the surface is also true in the chips.

Initially, are you approving the chip or the whole machine?

Initially, we’re approving the whole machine including the chip. After that, it’s just chips that need to be changed to different percentages.

If a casino wants to change a chip inside a machine to make it payback less do they have to let you know?

No. They can go ahead and change the chips on their own, but they need to have a system internally to be sure that they’re putting in only approved chips. That’s what our field inspection isgoing out and verifying daily: that they are all approved chips.

So, if they have a machine that’s returning 90% and they want to change it to 80%?

That’s okay as long as it’s an approved chip.

Who puts the chip in? The casino or the manufacturer?

It depends on their relationship with the manufacturer. Sometimes the manufacturer will come out and do it or sometimes the larger casinos have an in-house staff that can do it and they canprobably do it cheaper that way but you need some experience in doing that. The manufacturers will do it but they’ll charge extra for doing it.

And each chip is set to pay back a certain amount?

That’s correct.

How many approved chips are there?

We have a total of about 45,000 chips approved for all machines.

How many are approved for any particular brand of machine?

It would depend on the particular brand. It could be anywhere from two or three all the way up to several thousand.

But the probabilities of the randomness would be the same in all of that one machine’s chips and just the payback percentage would change?

That’s correct. Different manufacturers do it different ways. Some put the part that is the random number generator in one chip and then put the attributes about the payout percentage in aseparate chip and that makes it easier to sort of mix and match. Other manufacturers don’t design that way, but they will have the same random number generator in all their chips.

Is there some sort of coding on the chip that let’s you know it’s an approved chip?

There is a code number that we have on file that contains all of the attributes on that chip including its percentage. We would look at either the manufacturer’s code number or our own approvalnumber which also has to be on the chip and then from that we go back to our computer and it tells us what percentage it has to be.

Are the chips in the machines sealed or taped? Is there any way you can see if they’ve been tampered with?

Not visually, no.

Gale: Now, with Megabucks and some of the larger slot machine payoffs, many times the manufacturers will actually seal the EPROMS into the boards themselves where people can’ttake them out, or they’ll put them behind a locked door where only they have the key. But, we’re talking about Megabucks which is 6,7,8 million dollars a jackpot and it’s installed at 135casinos in the state so they’re very concerned about security over their programs. But we detect modification through the inspection process. That’s how you know something’s been tampered with:you pull it out and you read it.

Robinson: Also, the tape could be missing but the chip could be just fine. So, if you do go after a machine that had been taped and the tape was gone maybe somebody just tookthe chip out and put it back in again.

Are all of the machines taped?

No. Only the Megabucks machines, the wide-area progressives and some of the casinos voluntarily tape their larger denomination machines

How do you know that a chip hasn’t been tampered with internally?

When we go out to the field we have a laptop computer that has a database with all of the signatures of all of the chips so it knows what all of the chips should look like. We take the machineapart and we take the chips out of the machine. We put them into our laptop and press the button and it will read the chip and all of the contents in there. It will do the same calculations onthose chips that we did here in the office. It will compare what the values should be and look it up in a database and if it finds that it’s an approved value then it will go ahead and say'that was an okay chip.' Otherwise, it will alert the operator to make sure that they’ve actually put the chip in right and then, assuming that was done right, it will log that as a chip it’snever seen before and we’ll follow up on those.

You only do this on a spot basis?

On a random basis, we will show up at a location one day and say “we’re going to do your location today and we want access to the machines right now.'

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Do you check all of the machines in that location?

No. If it’s a restricted location (this means it’s licensed for 15 or fewer machines) that has 15 machines we’ll do all 15. Generally, we can do about 100 machines in a day so we’ll only do asample at a large location because, otherwise, at a really large location, we could be there potentially 20 days.

How long does it take you to visit every casino and do you visit every casino?

We do try to visit every casino and our cycle is about every two years.

What if you get a complaint from a player that they think there’s something wrong with a machine?

We’ll go and do the same kind of chip inspection and we will see if it’s an approved chip or not. If it’s not an approved chip we’ll take the chip out and bring it back to the lab and analyzeit there.

Then, on a case-by-case basis, depending on what we see is wrong with it..if it’s labeled with an approved label number we’ll start by comparing that chip with the approved chip and see howdifferent it is. Is it completely different or just a couple of bytes different? Then we’ll actually go in and analyze what the effect of the difference is. We will also talk to themanufacturer and say 'how did this get out without going through the approval process?' and we try to work it through there until we eventually determine what the problem is with the chip.

What’s the penalty if it’s not an approved chip?

It could be anywhere from a simple violation letter all the way up to loss of license. It depends on exactly what we’re looking at: was it maliciously done? Is it actually a gaffe where thehouse or player is cheated?

We had the case of American Coin back in 1989 where they were specifically putting in gaffed chips that produced no poker royal flushes. They lost their license on it as opposed to anadministrative error on their part where it’s a good chip, but somehow it got through the cracks and it didn’t get submitted to the Board properly but there doesn’t seem to be any maliciouscapability in the chip - somebody was just sloppy with the paperwork.

I saw the recent PrimeTime Live show about slot machines and it implied that many of your machines have a 'near-miss' feature. I thought that the “near-miss' was outlawed. Is thatcorrect?

That’s correct. There was a case that involved an attribute that was labeled 'near-miss' and that relates back to Universal Distributing Company in 1988. The process that they were using, whichwas deemed at that time to be a” near-miss' feature, was not in accordance with the regulations. What they would do was after they selected the reels, if you had a losing combination they wouldpresent a different losing combination that was more like 7, 7, and 7 just below the line. It was outlawed because it didn’t just independently select the reels and then display the results tothe player. It independently selected the reels and if it didn’t like the results that it came up with it went to another table and randomly selected a different set of results to show to theplayer.

Gale: After it determined that a losing combination was selected then it went out and got different symbols to display to make it look like you just barely missed a jackpot.

Robinson: More frequently than it should.

Gale: But you’re right (about it being outlawed) since regulation14 was amended back in 1989 to prevent that type of activity.

What Gale was referring to here was the section of Nevada’s gaming laws that was completely updated in 1989 and applies to 'manufacturers, distributors, gaming devices, new games, andassociated equipment.'

Regulation 14.040 pertains to minimum standards for gaming devices and parts of it specifically state 'All gaming devices submitted for approval: must use a random selections process todetermine the game outcome of each play of a game. Each possible combination of game elements that produce winning or losing game outcomes must be available for random selection at theinitiation of each play. The selection process must not produce detectable patterns of game elements. After selecting of the game outcome, the gaming device must not make a variable secondarydecision which affects the result shown to the player.' The wording in those regulations seemed to adequately sum up the state’s position on the 'near-miss' scenario: it’s illegal.

After the interview, we took a brief tour of the lab. I guess I had visions of a sprawling lab with technicians in white coats scurrying about in a high-tech environment. Instead, it was just arather small room - about the size of your average McDonald’s dining area - with nobody there and workbenches strewn with electronic equipment plus a few slot machines. The highlight was seeingthe area where the approved chips were kept. It consisted of a series of storage cabinets that were covered with a heavy-gauge metal screen and padlocks.

My visit left me with the impression that these guys were obviously very good at what they did and there seemed to be a lot of safeguards in place to prevent cheating on a machine. It justseemed that the department was kind of small for the massive amount of work it needed to do.

A check of Nevada’s gaming records for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1996, showed there were 185,610 slot machines throughout the state. Hmm, let’s see, if there are six people that go outand check on the machines and they can do a maximum of 100 machines a day - it would take them 1,856 days, or five years, of working seven days a week, to inspect every single machine!

Of course, Nevada’s gaming industry really hasn’t had much in the way of scandals so maybe their system works just fine. But what about the other states? Do they do it differently?

Meeting the Division of Gaming Enforcement

On May 15, 1997, I went to 1601 Atlantic Avenue in Atlantic City, New Jersey to meet with Richard Williamson, Supervisor of the Technical Services Bureau at the state’s Division of GamingEnforcement. We were joined by Keith Furlong, Public Information Officer for the Division and we spoke in Williamson’s office located in a state building just a few blocks west of theboardwalk’s casinos.

Interview with NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement

What does your department do?

We do the pro-active review of the games.

How many people are in the department?

There are 19.

How many actually go out in the field to test the machines?

Eleven. We’re not that big of a unit for the job we’ve got. A little bit of a historical perspective on this: we’re the same size that we were 10years ago and in the past four years we’ve gonefrom just four slot manufacturers to11, plus three keno systems.

How many machines are there?

33,000 but that goes to 35,000 right before the end of the summer with the opening of Bally’s Wild Wild West Casino, plus Trump is putting in another 600games in a new area that will be open bythe Memorial Day weekend.

Do you test every single machine in the city?

Yes. Every game that goes up in the casinos, we go out and we inspect every game. We actually seal the chip onto the circuit board. We come back.. we have a database where we put in theinformation that 'machine 1234 was put on Bally’s Park Place floor on this date, with this denomination and this program in it.' And if it’s a progressive, it was set at this rate ofprogression. We have documentation that supports all that information so that we’ve got an audit trail.

How long does it take you to inspect all of the games in the city?

Well, we don’t go out and inspect every game every year. What we do is I have an audit program set up where we use a random selection process. We’re at a 95% assurance level with a 2%deviation. We go out and we take from the population of slot machines. We have a random start and we pick every Nth one. We go out and we just inspect all those games from top to bottom. Wecome back and record it.

Are you selecting by kind of game or by casino?

By casino. We’ll do a random selection of all the games in a casino. But that’s our audit program. That’s the only time that we go into a casino and don’t tell them what games we’re going tolook at.

All of the other times we go and do inspections is when the casino is calling us to change the payoff percentage, do denomination changes, put bill acceptors on, or do some kind of amodification to the game. We go in and the casino creates the on-site inspection paperwork which spells out what’s happening. Then we go in, we inspect the games and sign off on the paperwork.We give a copy to the principal that’s on-site for the Casino Control Commission so they have our signature that the games are working as approved. The games go up and we come back and documentit in our database.

So you don’t continually inspect every machine?

We pre-inspect every machine before it goes up. It has to have the approved EPROM (computer chip). We don’t do 100% verification because I don’t think it’s cost-effective. What I do keep trackof on a database is the last time we looked at a game so at any point in time I can query for any game that has been looked at any variety of times.

Can a casino go in and change an EPROM on their own?

No. Not in this jurisdiction.

What do the casinos do when they want to make a change? Call the manufacturer?

No. They contact us and we schedule one of our gaming equipment specialists to go out to the casino and, generally, when they’re doing an EPROM change they’re doing a bank of games or they’redoing a model change where you change the chip, you change the glass, you change the reel strips and you’ve got anew slot machine.

So, the casinos are not allowed to go inside the machines to change any of those things unless you’re there to supervise it?


How does your approval process work for a new machine?

Well, naturally, the company would have to be licensed, or at least be in the licensing process, before they could submit a product.

Assuming they’ve met that requirement, what do they have to submit?

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They send in a full slot machine. They send in documentation on..let’s say an operator’s manual. They also send in more detailed documentation on the random number generator used within thegame. I’d have to say that’s one of the most important features. We do that first because if the random number generator doesn’t pass then that’s the end of the game.

What kind of testing do you do?

The first thing we check is the random number generator to make sure that there are no discernible patterns within that program. Then we do a physical review of the game. Review it for securityto see that it can’t be compromised in very simple ways, like easily opening up the door, or having easy access to the inside of the machine. Then we do a review of the circuitry of the boardto see that they don’t have switches or ways of manipulating the game that would not be detectable by the casino management or the regulators.

A lot of times the tendency by a manufacturer is to make these machines real user friendly and sometimes they can go to excess and give them (the casino) the ability to change payoutpercentages without any notification to management or the regulators. So we would have them remove anything that could compromise the integrity of the game.

The next thing we’ll do is a mathematical review of the particular program that operates the pays and plays of the game. When we do that review we’re doing it to make sure that it’s incompliance with the minimum payout percentages mandated in this jurisdiction.

The final step is to do an emulation of the game. We take it into the lab and then with our electronic equipment, rather than just playing the game, we force pays and we force losers.

For instance, we require that all machines lock up on the top award. So, if you receive the top award, say a royal flush, then you should not be able to throw those cards away. Then we checkthat the meters are working properly; that the pays occur and record properly; and that the machines will lock up on single awards over $1,200because that’s an I.R.S. rule.

About how long does it take for your approval process?

The time is really subjective to the experience of the company and the familiarity of the company with our regulations. So, for a seasoned manufacturer - someone who’s been submitting productsfor years - the approval process is generally quicker. Also, the location has a big difference. If they’re close we can pick up the phone and talk to them. Time zones make a difference,language barriers - if it’s somebody from Europe or Japan - it’s more difficult. So those are factors that extend the time of the prototype approval. Say, if the company was in New Jersey, andthey submit the product and they’re very familiar with the rules and they’ve done all their homework on the game we could probably knock out a prototype in 60 days.

It’s my understanding that your department was also involved in the discovery of the 'near-miss' slot machine programs. Is that correct?

Yes. It was discovered while it was in here for approval but the facts are that it was discovered at the same time in Nevada and that company withdrew it from the approval process here. So,actually, we never did issue a letter on it.

But, the 'near-miss' machine is illegal? Is that correct?

Well, it would be illegal in this jurisdiction if someone were to send one in.

Do you consider a video poker machine to be different than a slot machine?

It was determined by the Casino Control Commission back in the first couple of years of the ’80s that it is a slot machine.

So you don’t make any difference in your laws between skill and non-skill machines?

Only to the fact that we require the payout percentage to be 2% higher on a game that is affected by skill.

You require it to be 2% higher? That’s the first I’ve heard of that. I haven’t completely read your laws, but..

It won’t say that in the law. It was a policy adopted by the Commission about the time that video pokers were approved because of a field test. They went out and they watched people play and itwas determined that someone who was very unskilled at playing poker could lower the payout percentage of the game below the minimum standard just by continually making poor selections. So theythought they should raise it2% so that even a poor player would have a better chance with the added 2% payout.

The minimum return on slots is 83% so the video poker machines would have to return a minimum of 85%?


I’ve read some articles where the writers claim that because New Jersey law treats video poker machines the same as slots that the video poker machines might be programmed to avoid givingplayers better hands by dip switches or other means. Are the machines allowed to do that?

No. As part of our proactive approach to the game inspection, we do no tallow dip switches. We do not allow a casino to arbitrarily change the payout percentages. We do keep a record on whatprogram is in there at all times for investigative and auditing purposes. The casinos are required, when they do their count of the games, to calculate the payout percentage of the game andcompare it to the theoretical payout and investigate the differences. They have to report that to us for every slot machine.

They have to tell you the theoretical payout?

We require them to compare the actual with the theoretical and we tell them what the theoretical is.

What are the sanctions you can take against a casino if you find them in violation of your policies?

Well, that’s all licensing and it comes down to individuals. We have licensing requirements with internal controls where an entity would have to report this and someone in a certain departmentis required to report those things. So, if they don’t report it, you go to the person whose job it is.

Generally, most of these things can be worked out by going to the individual. If that doesn’t work you go to their boss. If that doesn’t work you go to corporate counsel. If that doesn’t workthen you resort to legal measures, but it’s really all one-on-one. It’s not that big of industry here, we’ve just got 12 entities and we know all of them. So, if you’ve got a problem you justwalk in, or make an appointment, and sit in their office or have them come over and talk it out.

What would you say is the most common problem you’ve seen in the machines?

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Most common? Lights out. The game’s got to operate as prototype approved. It’s like your car: if your turn signals aren’t on who’s going to know you’re turning? If the coin-in light is off howare you going to know that the coin was accepted?

My point is that when a game hits that floor it should be in a working condition so that the patron understands how the game works because there’s no place else they can go for the rules otherthan what’s right in front of them. And, if they do have a question, someone within the casino, be it a slot attendant or whoever, should be able to come over and explain it to the patron sothat there’s no complaint that goes beyond that game.

After our interview, I took a tour of the testing facilities and I noticed it contained many of the same electronic testing machines that I had seen in the Nevada lab. The only difference herewas that the facilities were spread out in three smaller rooms as opposed to being in one room. Also, I guess my timing was better here because I did see a few people working on some projects.

My impression, once again, was that many safeguards were in place for the player. Actually, there seemed to be more safeguards in New Jersey because of their restrictions on the ability of thecasinos to go in and make changes to the machines on their own.

Also, it was interesting to discover that although Nevada has almost six times as many machines as New Jersey, they only have about half as many inspectors: just six compared to New Jersey’s11.

Even with their more aggressive rules, however, New Jersey officials still don’t test every machine on a continuing basis, and, just like in Nevada, a random testing program is used. Williamsonnoted that 'it’s not cost-effective' to test every machine and I guess I could see his point. Also, when questioned on the 'near-miss' slot machines, Williamson said they were not allowed inNew Jersey which is the same situation as in Nevada.

Meeting Gaming Labs International

After leaving the state facility my next stop was at Gaming Labs International in Toms River, about 75 miles north of Atlantic City. GLI is a private testing facility that is contracted bygaming regulatory agencies throughout the world to do testing of gaming machines as well as lottery and keno systems.

The company’s president, James Maida, previously worked as a testing engineer at New Jersey’s Gaming Enforcement Division in the mid-1980s. In1989 GLI was the first independent testing lab toopen in the U.S. and it has been responsible for servicing more than 160 gaming jurisdictions throughout the world. The company is hired by regulatory agencies for consulting on gaming issuesas well as for auditing programs but its primary function is the testing and monitoring of electronic gaming equipment. GLI is the largest company of its kind in the world and in 1996 Maida wasnamed one of the top 25 most influential people in gaming by International Gaming and Wagering Business Magazine. Besides its Toms River headquarters, GLI also has offices in Colorado, Africa,and Australia.

I wrote a few months ahead to ask about visiting the lab and made arrangements with Todd Elsasser, Director of Operations, to meet for an interview and a tour of the facility.

Downtown Toms River looks like a typical 'quaint' mid-American small town and GLI’s offices were located in a rather large single-story storefront office at 26 Main Street. Elsasser and I spokein his office for about 45minutes and then went on a tour of the facility which had a much larger area devoted to testing than either of the state facilities. There also seemed to be about adozen or so people directly working in those areas, but still - no white lab coats!

Elsasser and I covered a lot of subjects and when I sat down to write this story I called him back to ask him a few more questions. Unfortunately, he never returned my calls and then, aftersending him an e-mail to inquire about us getting together, I received a message on my answering machine from James Maida saying “regretfully, we cannot give interviews.. we’re a regulatoryagency and not allowed to give interviews to the general press. We would not be able to make any statements, nor should we be quoted in your publication.' He also suggested that for informationon the 'near-miss' controversy I should consult the article he wrote for the summer 1997 issue of Slot Manager' magazine.

I’m not sure what happened to make the folks at GLI change their mind but, due to Maida’s request, I can’t go into the exact details of what was said at Elsasser’s office. The truth is,however, that it was pretty similar to what was said in both Nevada and at the state facility in New Jersey: there are safeguards in place to regulate gaming machines in all of the states withlegalized casino gambling. The regulations may differ slightly from state-to-state, but there are programs in place to protect the public when playing in a regulated jurisdiction.

Now, what about that 'near-miss'? Well, in his article Maida wrote that after the PrimeTime Live story was broadcast he received lots of calls from his clients concerning the 'near-miss'feature and he assured them that those kinds of games do not exist in North America.

I guess that pretty much summed up the situation: two state regulatory agencies said that 'near-miss' machines were illegal and then the president of the world’s largest independent testinglaboratory also said those kinds of machines were illegal and just didn’t exist. So that’s the end of that controversy, isn’t it? Well, not exactly.

In the August 1997 issue of Casino Journal, a respected trade publication that follows the casino industry, writer Jeff Burbank reported that while a “near-miss' on the payline is outlawed inNevada, a 'near-miss' above or below the payline is perfectly legal in that state.

Burbank interviewed Ellen Whittemore, the former deputy attorney general for gaming in 1988 and 1989 who was responsible for writing Nevada’s Regulation 14 which pertains to the 'near-miss'situation. She said that a “near-miss' above or below the payline was legal and that actually it was better for the players because it meant that players could more easily win jackpots.

Virtual Reel Technology

What Whittemore was referring to here was the 'virtual reel “technology used in today’s slot machines. At a time, slot machine jackpots were limited by the number of stops on each reel but thatisn't the case anymore.

Previously, if a machine had three reels and each reel had 22 stops, then the maximum number of combinations that a particular machine could show was 10,648 (22x 22 x 22). Therefore, a $1machine couldn’t offer a jackpot of more than $10,648 or it would lose money. Someone then came up with the idea of a 'virtual reel' that could offer many more combinations by using a computerchip to create a make-believe reel with as many stops as were needed. This way a $1 machine with, for instance, three 50-stop virtual reels, would have a maximum number of 125,000 (50 x 50 x50) combinations. The only problem is that the actual reels in the machines still only have 22 physical stops, so the computer must tell the reels where they should stop. This is known as“mapping' and since there are more 'computer' stops than “physical' stops it necessitated that many of the winning symbols appear more than once. Whittemore said that because of the virtualreel technology and the random number selection process it is just natural that 'near-miss' combinations would appear more frequently above or below the payline. The Nevada Gaming Commissionheld extensive hearings on this subject and on September 22, 1988, it filed a stipulation declaring it legal.

Pretty confusing, isn’t it? Well, the important thing to remember here is that although a 'near-miss' is acceptable above or below the payline, it can’t be programmed into the machine. It isonly allowed when it’s the result of a random number generation process that just happens to put those particular results on the reel. If a 'near-miss' is purposely programmed to appear eitherabove, below, or directly on the payline, then that would be illegal in any regulated gaming jurisdiction.

One of the major problems when discussing the 'near-miss “issue is that different people may have different interpretations of what it means. In this instance, Whittemore used it to refer tocombinations appearing above and below the payline. Traditionally, however, the 'near-miss' got its name from the Universal Distributing incident and only applied to a 'near-miss' directly onthe payline which was purposely programmed into the machine. Which brings us back to the PrimeTimeLive report.

Concluding Thoughts

Did PrimeTime Live mislead its viewers to think that any kind of “near-miss' was legal on Nevada’s slot machines? I believe they did. At no point in the show did they ever actually define whata 'near-miss' was and they also implied at the beginning of the program that the 'near-misses' were occurring directly on the payline. Additionally, they never mentioned the fact that a“near-miss' on the payline is illegal in Nevada. This was a simple fact they could have easily looked up in the state’s gaming regulations and it’s hard to believe that they didn’t know aboutit.

It seemed that the ABC news show had its mind made up going into the story and set out to find any source of information that could help lead to their preconceived conclusions. After all, theirtwo prime sources were a convicted slot cheat and a former gaming industry official with a bias against Nevada gaming regulators. Although the news show portrayed Romano as one of a select fewwilling to talk about the gambling industry’s 'secrets,' the fact is he wasn’t exactly pleased with the state’s regulators. This became much more apparent on April 16, 1997, just five weeksafter the show aired, when Romano filed a $6 million lawsuit against the state Gaming Control Board, the state Gaming Commission and state Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa for violatinghis civil rights in the handling of his American Coin case.

I realize that television is a competitive business that often relies on sensationalism to sell itself, but I’m sure we would all like to think that a major news organization would try topresent a balanced presentation of a situation and let the viewers decide for themselves who’s right and who’s wrong. That just didn’t seem to be the case here. If they wanted to be fair theyshould have at least hired an independent lab to check the claims of their sources and report those results in their broadcast.

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Eventually, the initial controversy over the 'near-miss' issue died out and no hearings of any kind were ever held. Chances are pretty good, however, that this issue will continue to linger andthe industry will one day have to come up with a way to permanently resolve it.

And how does this story affect you? Well, at least when you walk into a casino and play a slot machine in a regulated jurisdiction you can be assured that measures have been taken to assure youof a fair game. You can also be assured that a 'near-miss' won’t be programmed to appear on the payline, but I suggest that you don’t look above or below that payline to see what else isshowing!

As experienced gamblers always searching for new platforms where we can take advantage of our wealth of gambling knowledge, we built this site to discuss the legitimate online casinos that gamblers of all skill levels can visit online for a safe and professional gaming experience.

Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware, as well as a few other regions, now offer state-regulated online casino gaming. However, US players not located in those states, as well as players outside of the United States, are not able to access these offerings.

However, there are legitimate online casinos operating offshore that are licensed and run by reputable management teams that have been providing a secure and reliable internet gambling experience to American and International players for years.

If this were the stock market, think of our recommendations like blue-chip stocks. We only endorse the most trusted and reputable casino brands in the industry that have proven to be extremely safe for players and always payout winnings quickly and reliably. As a matter of fact, many of the casinos we recommend offer same-day payouts when you use Bitcoin.

From one veteran gambler to another, you can count on us to shoot straight from the hip, and never sugarcoat our findings. If a casino is legitimate, we will praise them and explain why we consider them a good choice for players. If they are rogue, we will punch them in the mouth accordingly and explain why they are best avoided.

Bovada Casino is considered to be one of the most legitimate casinos in the business and is trusted by thousands of players. As a part of the Bodog gaming group, their security profile is exceptional, and because they employ the RTG software platform, you can rest assured that their software solution presents certified, legitimate, fair gaming technology.

Known for fast payouts and ongoing promotions that sweeten the pot, Bovada Casino easily became a favorite among players, particularly those attentive to the reputation, legitimacy, and quality of the gaming sites they visit.

We consider them to be a reliable online gambling option that reflects the best that the industry has to offer. They also offer sports betting, poker, and horse racing, which is very appealing to players who enjoy all types of gambling action.

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Top 10 Rated Sites For 2020

Quick Note: I know it seems strange that most of our site rankings are 5 stars. This isn't because we take our site ratings lightly. The reason is simple, right now we are only reviewing the most trusted casinos in the industry which have been around for years and have proven themselves to be very reputable for players.

Once we get around to reviewing some of the lesser casinos in the industry, you will certainly see more reviews with 2 or 3 stars. We just wanted to throw that out there so our visitors understood that we weren't being cavalier about our recommendations. We actually take them very seriously and only recommend sites that we are willing to risk our own hard earned money at ourselves.

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Which Online Casinos Payout Fast?

It goes without saying that payout speed is certainly a determining factor when assessing the legitimacy of an online casino. Operating an efficient, reliable banking suite with multiple deposit and withdrawal options for US players is not 'optional' in our opinion.

The following information on the payout speed of the top online casinos demonstrates a vital component in explaining why the legit brands featured on this page are among the most trusted in the industry.

How fast you can get to your winnings will depend on a few things, including what option you used to fund your account with, which in turn determines which online casinos payout the fastest and how long it takes to get your withdrawal. While legitimate casinos that accept Visa are convenient, processing times can sometimes frustrate account holders. If you are interested in same-day payouts, we recommend you fund your account using Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Zelle to Bitcoin or another accepted cryptocurrency option.

Bovada Casino Payout Speed

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SlotsLV Casino Payout Speed

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  • Direct Bank Transfer 3-5 Days (Canadian players only)

Cafe Casino Payout Speed

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Roaring21 Casino Payout Speed

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  • Skrill: 24 Hours
  • Ecopayz: 24 Hours
  • Visa: 24 Hours

Cherry Jackpot Payout Speed

  • Bitcoin: Same Day
  • Check by Courier: 7-14 Days
  • Bank Wire Transfers: 3-5 Days
  • Visa (non-USA players only): 24 Hours
  • Ecopayz (non-USA players only): 24 Hours
  • Neteller (non-USA players only): 24 Hours
  • Skrill (non-USA players only): 24 Hours

Casino Max Payout Speed

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Are Online Casinos Honest Slot Machines

Why A Casino's Reputation Should Be Paramount To New Players

A casino's true reputation is a key indicator of whether you should or should not try them out. If a casino is behaving unethically, you had better believe that players spread the word about the nefarious actions they witness and the casino's reputation will soon be in the toilet, along with their business.

Rogue, predatory online gambling sites are designed to cause you harm and are sometimes difficult to distinguish from the legitimate sites at first glance.

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If you have been a casino gambler, poker player and/or sports bettor as long as we have, you can quickly sniff out reviews and opinions that are less than truthful, and you will not find that here.

Our diverse team of experienced gamblers and analysts collaborate to discuss our findings in an honest and straightforward way. We want to make you aware of the casino's true reputation, qualities and/or misses.

You demand integrity, safety, and trustworthiness from your online casino as an active player, and it is our goal as discerning veteran gamblers and industry insiders to steer you in the right direction.

We cover all relevant elements that make a casino brand who they are and present our findings in honest online casino reviews that you can trust to provide accurate, unfiltered information on each brand's reputation, resulting in a recommendation from us or a warning to avoid them.

Before we investigate a casino's user interface thoroughly and identify the gaming software provider, we delve deep into the legitimacy and reputation of that site's management group. For instance, where is the site licensed? How long has the site been running? And even if a particular website is relatively new, does its management team have extensive experience providing online gaming options to Internet gamblers? Safe online casinos will generally be run by experienced online gaming providers who have lasted for years in the online gambling community.

The cold, hard truth is, there are some rogue and predatory operators running casino, poker and sportsbook websites in cyberspace. But there are also legitimate casinos that strive to provide exactly what gamblers are looking for, including reliable and extensive banking platforms, multiple gambling options, responsive and knowledgeable customer support, and generous player rewards. Efficiently executing these services directly affects a casino's reputation and is an indicator of their legitimacy.

The type of online gaming software used is also extremely important. For instance, when you see the RealTime Gaming (RTG) name attached to a particular website, that generally means you are at one of the more trusted and legitimate gambling sites. But that is not always the case, just because a casino uses RTG software doesn't make it a legitimate RTG casino. So you must do your due diligence and check out a website thoroughly, just as we do.

We will also include reviews for other top-level online gaming software providers that deliver a fluid and reliable experience as well, such as Playtech Casinos, which is a premium International online gambling platform. We have provided a comprehensive software review that includes a listing of legitimate Playtech casinos. We have also covered legitimate Microgaming casinos in our guide because they have proven to deliver a highly secure and overall pleasing online gambling platform for non-USA players.

Trustworthy virtual casinos always treat you with respect and provide an honest, dependable gambling experience, however you may be surprised to find that they do not always offer the largest welcome bonuses and player reward packages. You may wonder why the most reputable legitimate gambling sites often times have smaller bonus packages than their inferior competition.

The reason is simple. Rogue and predatory sites will advertise an almost unbelievable welcome bonus just to get you to open an account. They then make it nearly impossible to withdraw your money in a timely manner and make it incredibly difficult to qualify for your bonus match in the first place. They really just want to steal your money.

This sort of scam is obviously not the case every time you see a generous offer. There are some absolutely outstanding and safe casinos which use top-of-the-line software, offer speedy and reliable banking, and still provide extremely generous welcome bonuses. However, you need to be able to distinguish which types of offers are legit and which are scams. Our reviews help with this.

While some of the best online casinos and sportsbooks can have a very narrow focus when it comes to game selection, most players prefer one website which offers you multiple gambling options. All of the online casinos featured here provide a substantial game selection and many of them also offer additional gambling venues, such as sports betting, poker, and horse racing.

The gambler who sits down to each session expecting to walk away with a profit knows that one day their money might be made on the craps table, and the next day its video poker treating them well. Legitimate gambling sites, in our humble opinion, should offer a wide variety of gambling options, provide some type of realistic welcome bonus with attainable wagering requirements for opening an account, speedy and diverse banking options, reliable mobile casino access, and reliable software. The reputations of the casinos you find listed on our site are based on how well they check all of these boxes.

How We Rate Online Casinos - Our Approval Process

The following criteria are used to vet each and every site we list on

First and foremost let us explain our rating icons so players fully understand what they are looking at. It's pretty simple, we offer a legitimacy rating throughout our site that ranges between 0-5 stars with 5 being the most reputable casinos and zero being the lowest. Obviously we recommend avoiding any casino with a zero star rating as this is definitely a rogue outfit that will steal your money with no intention of paying you.

Unfortunately the average online gambler assumes the casino they are using values honesty and integrity and is a reputable casino brand without doing much to verify that assumption. We thoroughly vet how honest particular websites are before we tag them as 'legitimate online casinos'. You can discover a website's level of honesty by reading their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) section and checking customer written reviews online. And comparing things like banking options and welcome bonus qualifications is good as well, but to truly get a feeling for whether a casino is honest or not you have to open an account and play there. That is what we do, and this is our first step in the review process.

Checking out the security profile that a casino offers goes hand-in-hand with the first step above, but is actually a little easier to do. Most legitimate online casinos will have a section on their website which provides a link to a discussion of their particular security efforts. We investigate what type of secure SSL and data encryption is used, are their random number generators (RNGs) frequently tested by an independent third party source, and which online gaming software is used. The answers to these questions provide valuable insight to the quality of the casino's security mindset regarding the sensitive information that comes through their banking suite and registration process. All reputable casinos spare no expense or effort to ensure that a sophisticated security footprint is in place to protect players. The casino security technology that any brand uses is certainly one of the most important components to determining their legitimacy.

Checking a casino's licensing and certification is another step which cannot be fudged or glossed over. Either an online casino is a licensed and legally certified brand or they are not. We verify that casinos are licensed by a respected governing authority and that they willingly subject themselves to fair gaming regulatory oversight with independent and official gaming commissions with authority in their respective jurisdictions. We do anticipate the addition of US based and regulated online casinos being added to this guide in the near future as the United States works on developing their own regulatory infrastructure to facilitate the online gambling industry legally entering the US market. In the mean time, most licensed casinos are located and regulated outside of the United States.

You can stay up to date on what is happening on the legal side of things in our gambling laws by country section.

We have found that a casino's reputation can be discovered by frequenting online gambling forums and chat rooms. This type of first-person information from veteran gamblers is like being offered a guaranteed win on a wager. This is unadulterated information which immediately points out those websites where experienced gamblers feel safe and secure, while also enjoying generous bonuses, multiple banking options and a wide range of wagering opportunities. We also subscribe to industry watchdog newsletters which have no affiliation with any particular online casino or software platform. We combine this information with our own extensive wealth of knowledge from having been involved in the online gambling industry for years. We know the prominent brands inside and out, and those casinos which we are unfamiliar with go through an extensive testing and evaluation period executed by a team of online gambling professionals before the verdict on their legitimacy is shared with our readers. Finding honest casinos and gambling sites that offer a high quality and secure gaming experience is our objective.

Finally, we use all of the above information to develop a sense of how safe we feel gambling at that portal. Whether enjoying casino table games, betting on a sports contest, placing a bet on a horse or playing poker, you want to feel safe. By actively opening accounts and playing at an online casino, making withdrawal requests and asking aggressive questions of customer support staff, we can quickly reach a confident opinion regarding a particular website as safe and legitimate or not. We also prefer to play at those casinos which are very open about their views on responsible gaming, helping problem gamblers, their privacy policy, bonus match wagering requirements and other major topics before we pronounce that site safe.

We have 2 additional websites that are part of our legitimate family. These include legitimate poker sites and legitimate sportsbooks. We may even develop one additional site to cover bingo sites. The idea here is to offer players information as to whether or not a particular gambling site is trusted based on their history with players. It's truly a monumental task to research all the different sites available to players, learn about issues and problems and update our legitimacy rating accordingly. But we hope you appreciate our efforts to provide reviews on not only the most reputable sites, but the bad ones as well so you can avoid getting robbed by any unscrupulous betting sites on the internet that exist to do nothing but steal and cheat from players.